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Geography, Humanism, and Global Concern

Anne Buttimer
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Vol. 80, No. 1 (Mar., 1990), pp. 1-33
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2563326
Page Count: 33
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Geography, Humanism, and Global Concern
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Abstract

This paper frames a perspective on the history of Western humanism, its role in shaping geographical inquiry through the centuries, and its essential message for the future practice of the discipline. Humanism is defined as the liberation cry of humanity, voiced at times and places where the integrity of life or thought was threatened or compromised, or when fresh horizons beckoned. The modes whereby the humanist spirit has been negotiated within the changing contexts of Western history reveal a cyclically-recurring drama which is here captured in the mythopoetic characters of Phoenix, Faust, and Narcissus. It is for its potentially emancipatory role that humanism merits attention today as Western scholars seek better communication with colleagues from other cultures in a common concern about global environmental problems.

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